Roman Christmas lights are on, but its streets are deserted under the Italian locked ‘red zone’.
Christmas Eve in Rome, as in most other cities, it usually involves a crazy dash for last minute gifts, taking the kids to town to see the lights and festively compensating friends with an aperitif or two.
This year it’s none of that. And although the usual routine on Christmas Eve is known elsewhere, no other city in the world offers such a magical backdrop as Rome.
While not as stringent as the spring lock, Italy’s latest covid-19 restrictions have put a serious choke on the ground a festive atmosphere in the Eternal City, causing further devastation of the company and a broken heart to separated families.
Roman Christmas markets, concerts and calendar services have also bypassed the road, while those who dare this Christmas must have a form with a statement stating their “urgent or necessary” reason for staying outdoors.
Perhaps in return, the capital has come out on its Christmas tree this year, as has the Vatican, and shopping streets like Via del Corso and Via Condotti flicker beautifully at night.
Christmas religious services and Masses in the capital will continue, although midnight Mass has been moved forward by several hours to allow people to return home earlier Italian curfew at 10 p.m..
U a radical break with tradition, Pope Francis will not surrender his Urbi and Orbi address from the central balcony near St. Peter and on Christmas morning there will be no crowds in the lower market. Instead, the Vatican’s Christmas ceremonies will be broadcast.
Acknowledging that it will be “difficult”, the Pope proposes a more spiritual and less consumerist Christmas, while Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that “Christmas will be different, but no less authentic”.
Restrictions restrict domestic travel, which is difficult for many Italians, but also saves thinking for the Italian foreign community, many of whom will truly spend a lonely Christmas.
Despite the difficulties, Christmas in Italy this year will – as needed – focus around the house, with food playing a major role.
It is also a timely opportunity to remember those who are no longer with us and we hope that next Christmas we will once again enjoy the full plus.
Wanted in Rome wishes all its readers a happy and peaceful Christmas time.